OMAD means eating one meal in a day. It doesn’t specify what you eat, or even what time you eat. It simply directs you to eat once.
OMAD is the longest form of time-restricted eating, equivalent to a 23:1 fast (fasting for 23 hours and eating in a 1-hour window). In its purest sense, OMAD doesn’t dictate calorie restriction or specific macronutrient composition. That said, we encourage you to continue your healthy, low-carb diet at that meal.
If you follow weight loss trends, then you may have come across this one meal a day approach. To some, it may sound extreme and like something that is more of a hassle than it is worth. But, in fact, there are many advantages to this fasting style. This pattern of eating can have some profound health benefits like weight loss, improving cognition, and preventing disease. Not to mention, it can help you save time and money. Once you get used to it, it isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds.
You can also learn about Intermittent fasting by clicking this Button
OMAD Working on Body
One meal a day is not so much a diet but rather a particular version of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting involves alternating between periods of eating and periods of consuming no calories at all (also known as fasting). As the name implies, with OMAD, you eat only once per day. You spend 23 hours of the day fasting and have a one-hour eating window. During that time, you eat your single, large meal. You consume the number of calories you need for the entire day during those 60 minutes.
The extended fasting period during the one meal a day diet is beneficial to the body for many reasons, many of which I go into more detail below. One of the main things to understand is when we fast, the Fat Storing Hormone levels in the body drop. Correcting Fat Storing Hormone resistance and blood sugar issues is essential in avoiding common health problems. Doing this through fasting can help solve a lot of problems throughout the body and can help you with everything from weight loss to memory issues.
To whom OMAD diet applies ?
It is important to note that only people who have prior experience with intermittent fasting should try the OMAD diet. Do not go straight from your regular habits to a single meal per day. This causes excessive stress on your body, which only harms you rather than help. Build yourself up to the fasting schedule of one meal per day by gradually increasing the time you fast daily.
Best Time to do OMAD
It is up to the individual to determine when is the best time to consume his/her calories for the day. Some people prefer to eat all of their daily required calories at breakfast time, some at lunch, and some at dinner. But, if you want to work with the body as much as possible, eating later in the day is preferred. Our bodies spend much of the day under the control of the sympathetic branch of our nervous system. This system controls the fight or flight response and helps us respond and react to stress. So during the day, our bodies are naturally a little more stressed.
As the day goes on and we transition into night, the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system kicks in. This branch promotes rest and digestion. In the latter part of the day, our bodies are better suited for good digestion. This is one reason why we recommend eating your one meal either later in the afternoon or in the evening.
Eating later in the day also makes it convenient to enjoy your meals with others. You can still participate in family dinners around the dining room table, go to a dinner party, or join friends out for an evening meal.
Benefits of OMAD
Clinicians experienced in prescribing intermittent fasting and low-carb nutrition frequently use OMAD as a tool to help with weight loss stalls. When a patient is eating low carb but isn’t losing weight as expected, temporary use of OMAD can help kick-start weight loss.
Many who eat an OMAD pattern do so for the ease of preparing food and eating just once each day. This can be especially helpful for those who travel frequently, perform shift work, or have hectic and busy schedules.
Think about how much time you spend planning, shopping for, and preparing meals. If you eat three meals per day, how much time could you save cutting that by two-thirds?
As a form of time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting, OMAD may help reduce hyperinsulinemia, control diabetes and improve metabolic syndrome. Consistent clinical experience shows that widening the fasting window can help improve these metabolic conditions. So, when used appropriately, OMAD could deliver better results than shorter fasts.
Some see OMAD as an “easy” way to reduce calorie intake. When you only allow yourself to eat in a 30-to-60-minute time window, it is physically difficult to exceed your daily calorie needs. It’s not impossible but it sure is challenging. For those who benefit from a firm schedule that restricts snacking, OMAD can be the strategy that works best.
Lets have a look on some of the best things you get out of eating one meal a day? Here are the top eating one meal a day benefits:
1. Save Money
When you eat only one meal a day, there is no doubt you will save money.
2. Save Time
People spend a lot of time on food. Whether it’s due to grocery shopping, meal prepping, eating, cleaning up, or packing something for on the go, the work and time to make several meals a day add up. Without as much time dedicated to food, you can do other things more productive and exciting to you.
3. Improve Digestion
Fasting for so long each day can really help take the pressure off the digestive system. It gives your gallbladder, stomach, pancreas, and large bowel a rest. The one meal a day meal plan can be especially helpful for people with digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Boost the Immune System
Going for long periods of fasting is a powerful way to increase immune activity. Whether you have allergies, autoimmune conditions, or inflammatory conditions, intermittent fasting is a great choice.
5. Increase Autophagy
Autophagy refers to a process in the body in which damaged cell parts are recycled into new tissues. It also helps rid the body of things like viruses, mold, fungi, and candida. Fasting boosts this recycling and detoxifying process.
6. Live Longer
Fasting is a great anti-aging tool that promotes long, healthy living. This is linked to how fasting increases autophagy.
7. Reduce Hunger
You might think that if you are limited to food only once a day, you’ll be starving the rest of the day. But when you fully adapt to this way of eating and your body fully transitions into fat-burning mode, hunger actually goes away. You feel a lot less hungry overall.
8. Have Great Skin
This pattern of eating can help your skin look and feel great. You may experience smoother, younger skin due to the anti-aging effects and increased autophagy benefits.
9. Improve Mood
A lot of mood problems are due to underlying blood sugar problems. This is the case for things like depression and anxiety. When you fast and Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar issues get under control, your mood improves, and you feel so much better.
10. Increase Cognitive Function
This pattern of eating is really great for boosting cognition. It can benefit things like dementia, poor memory, lack of focus, and trouble concentrating. Once your body is used to this style of eating, all of that improves.
11. Decrease Inflammatory Conditions
Relief from conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis can happen when you only have one meal a day. This is because the blood sugar issues are often at the root of inflammation. When you correct those problems, the inflammation decreases.
12. Decrease Blood Pressure
High Fat Storing Hormone is behind high blood pressure. OMAD decreases Fat Storing Hormone in the body, bringing your blood pressure down along with it.
13. Turn the Body into a Fat Burning Machine
One of the benefits people love the most about the OMAD diet is helping them lose weight. When in full fasting mode, your body becomes well-adapted to burning fat. When you eat this way, you burn fat and get a flatter belly.
14. Improve Your Personal Discipline
The ability to withstand any food consumption for 23 hours takes true willpower. Doing this extreme intermittent fasting schedule is a practice. It is one that takes a lot of self-discipline. It as an exercise in strengthening your personal willpower and discipline.
15. Fix a Slow Metabolism
If you have a slow metabolism, then this is truly the style of eating meant for you. It helps raise your metabolism and shed fat.
Look into Nutrient Dense food options while doing OMAD
Some versions of the one meal a day diet allow you to eat anything you want (really, anything at all) in your single meal. I recommend making that meal as nutrient dense and full of hearty superfoods as possible. Avoid carbs and eat lots of healthy vegetables (a plant-based diet), along with healthy sources of fat and lean protein. It helps you provide your body with enough nutrients to stay healthy. It is important to make healthy food choices while eating only one meal a day. Make sure you get all the micronutrients and macronutrients your body needs in that short window.
Concerns about OMAD
1. Eating disorders
Any eating pattern that promotes a cycle of food restriction followed by extra food consumption can trigger disordered eating behavior in susceptible people. So if you have a history of an eating disorder, you should probably avoid OMAD.
2. Chronic caloric restriction
Creating an environment in which you naturally reduce caloric intake is one of the clinical benefits of OMAD. The other side of that coin is that it can be difficult to obtain adequate calories if eating OMAD long-term, without interruption. OMAD can then start to look a lot like chronic caloric restriction. Although chronic caloric restriction helps with initial weight loss, it poses long-term concerns because it tends to lower resting metabolic rate, which makes weight loss very difficult to maintain.
3. Inadequate protein intake
Just as OMAD promotes caloric restriction, it can also lead to protein restriction. Since protein helps you feel full and satisfied, it can be difficult to eat your entire daily requirement in one sitting. Therefore take advise of your Dietitian before planning OMAD.
4. Taking medications with food
For those who need to take prescription medications with food more than once per day, OMAD presents a significant hurdle. If this is the case for you, discuss with your healthcare provider if other options exist. If not, then OMAD is likely not safe for you.
Many people do well – even thrive – with time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting. Others are more susceptible to side effects. Feeling a little hungry and a little low in energy are expected. But feeling unwell, extremely fatigued, dizzy, nauseated, or having other severe side effects are abnormal responses to intermittent fasting and OMAD. If you experience any of these severe side effects, OMAD is likely not the best choice for you. You can work with your Nutritionist to determine if any changes (like shorter fasting regimens or greater adaptation to fat burning through reduction of dietary carbohydrates) could make it an option in the future.
“Best use” of OMAD
OMAD appears to be a powerful tool to help with weight loss and metabolic health. Suggestion of using OMAD one to three times per week, on non-consecutive days, could be an effective tool. This is not a science-based protocol with plenty of high-quality evidence, but is instead based on the existing evidence plus clinical experience.
Just remember, OMAD is not a license to eat whatever you want. What you eat for your one meal still matters. We recommend you stick with your low-carb plan on OMAD and non-OMAD days alike. In fact, clinical experience suggests that a well-formulated low-carb diet makes intermittent fasting and OMAD easier to do by reducing hunger and cravings. So, you can consider low carb as the secret weapon to enhance your OMAD superpower.
Here is a sample week utilizing OMAD:
- Monday: eat two meals with 16:8 time-restricted eating
- Tuesday: OMAD, around 1000 calories
- Wednesday: eat two meals with 16:8 time-restricted eating
- Thursday: OMAD, similar to Tuesday
- Friday: eat two meals with 16:8 time-restricted eating
- Saturday: free day to eat how your social schedule dictates (just stay on your low-carb plan!)
- Sunday: OMAD, similar to Tuesday
You can download Sample OMAD plan by clicking this download button below
Few Options for OMAD Meals Veg/Non Veg
- 200gm Yogurt mixed with fruits and 1tsp seeds + 5 soaked almonds + 2 walnuts mixed altogether + 1 bowl Tahini chickpea salad 1 bowl + Cauliflower mint paratha 2 + 1 Bowl Beetroot raita
- Kiwi 1 + 5 soaked almonds + 2 walnuts + Thick curd 1 big bowl + Rajma/Lobia/Chola 2 k + Three bean chaat 1k + Oats wheat roti 1
- Roti -1.5 + Malai matar methi-2 k + Lauki raita-1 k + Green Salad 1 plate + Any seasonal fruit 1
- Cauliflower/broccoli rice-1.5 kat + Chicken manchurian-2 kat + Cucumber salad-1 plate + Coconut-2 pc + walnut-1 + Any seasonal fruit 1
- Tandoori chicken breast (2) salad with onion, capsicum and mint chutney-1 bowl + Cream of mushroom soup-1 bowl + Chia seed pudding with nuts and fruits -1 kat
So, is OMAD a healthy and helpful tool for weight loss and metabolic improvements? Yes, it can be. But use it wisely and pay attention to your calorie and nutrient needs.
If you can incorporate it into a healthy pattern of time-restricted eating and low-carb nutrition, you may be well on your way to achieving your health and weight goals.
Remember, We only suggest this one meal a day diet if you build up to it slowly. Take your time with intermittent fasting and gradually increase the amount of time you fast daily. Only once you’ve let your body adjust to fasting can you fast for 23 hours per day successfully.
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